A three-year campaign will promote the business case for co-operatives. Launching The Co-operative Option on the first day of Co-operative Congress, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK Ed Mayo said teachers, lecturers, chambers of commerce and business mentors should be aware of how successful co-operatives are.
“There’s always a co-operative option,” he said. “Anyone who’s advising or supporting business should be aware that there’s a co-operative option. The good thing is we can point people to the evidence and data on how the model succeeds.
“In terms of financial resilience the evidence from Co-operatives UK is if you compare co-operative start ups to business at large, you’re much more likely to survive and succeed if you’re a co-op.”
The three-year campaign is part of Co-operatives UK’s drive to grow the co-operative sector. It focuses on the co-operative business model as resilient, productive, competitive and focused on making a profit. It also explains that co-ops are owned and democratically controlled by members, not outside investors.
“This is a sector-wide campaign,” Mr Mayo told Congress. “The heart of the campaign is a network of supporters like you, who are able to raise awareness of the co-operative option at business round tables, networking events, schools and colleges.”
He invited delegates to sign up as supporters and order a campaign pack. The pack includes business cards with the slogan, “the co-operative option; it’s good for business,” along with leaflets, case studies, guidance on what co-ops are and a slideshow presentation.
Co-operatives UK said the campaign calls for anyone who is advising business to be aware of the co-operative option. It aims to increase understanding of co-operatives among business advisers and the entrepreneurs and owners they support.
At the heart of the campaign is a network of supporters, who are able to raise awareness of the co-operative option among business advisors, universities, schools and others who influence businesses in the UK.
“Co-operatives still remain a relative secret,” said Mr Mayo. “We don’t have share prices to go up and down. Business schools bypass us.
“We want to make it as natural to understand as other business models. We want people to feel they’re missing out if they’re not hearing the co-operative option. Co-operative businesses are our future.”
The campaign pack highlights where co-operatives are strong in areas such as business growth, consumer trust, employee productivity, product innovation and financial resilience.
Key facts from the campaign are:
• Business growth: co-operative businesses turnover more than £35 billion a year — a growth of 20 per cent since the start of the credit crunch in 2008, while the UK economy has shrunk by 1.7%
• Consumer trust: 52% of people who expressed a view, described co-operative businesses as trusted, compared to just 7% for PLCs
• Employee productivity: Over a four year period, employees of worker-owned businesses have increased their productivity by 33 per cent, whereas employees of conventional businesses improved by just 17 per cent
• Product innovation: Co-operatives give a voice to employees and customers as members, creating space for their ideas for product and service improvement
• Financial resilience: Evidence shows that whereas only 65 per cent of conventional businesses survive the first three years, over 90% of co-operatives are in still in business
• To find out more; and to download the campaign materials, visit: www.uk.coop/option
In this article
- Business models
- Co-operative Congress
- Co-operative Congress 2013
- Co-operatives UK
- Consumer cooperative
- Contact Details
- Economy of the United Kingdom
- Ed Mayo
- Secretary General
- Social Issues
- The Co-operative brand
- The Co-operative Food
- The Co-operative Group
- United Kingdom